Updated: Apr 8, 2020
Some days I feel strong. Some days I feel fat. Some days I feel lean. Some days I feel fucking great. Just like any thing or any emotion, my body image ebbs and flows throughout the day, week, month, and even changes by the hour.
A lot of my work in recovery has aimed to bring myself back to my body, acknowledge all the incredible things my body does for me, and gain a sense of respect and gratitude for my body. Instead of feeling shame and guilt when looking in the mirror, I have been challenging myself to be objective instead. Instead of thinking my arms look fat, I think that my arms allow me to hug the people that I love. Instead of thinking I have stubby legs, I think that my legs allow me to walk and drive to places that I love, and enjoy the world around me.
For me, I have found a lot of joy in moving my body as a form of meditation. For me, SoulCycle is not just a workout or spin class, it is a moving meditation. When I am on a bike, I feel strong and powerful. When I am on a bike, I'm fucking ~feeling myself~ and think I look damn good when I tap it back. It took me years to get to this place of mindful movement, and I am still working through the obsessive and compulsive need to move my body. That will likely be a lifelong battle, but in the mean time, I recognize that I have found joy in something I used to dread on a daily basis.
Some days I feel fat. Somedays I feel disgusting. But whenever I'm clipped into a bike, I bring myself back into my body. When I ride to the music, I dance and sway and have the time of my life.
Some days my legs feel lean and strong. Some days my legs feel like they're about to give out. I am learning how to honor the changes in how my body feels and how I feel about my body. I am learning how to respect my body to honor its needs, give it rest, and give it nutrition.
Working through the anxiety and panic that comes with obsessive and compulsive behaviors and thoughts is incredibly difficult to say the least. That's where the meditative part comes into play, and I remind myself to be back in my body, in the present moment.
Moving meditation calls for moving purposefully and mindfully. When I move my body, I no longer try and dissociate from the pain my body is in and numb out the world. Instead, I bring myself back into the present by repeating to myself what I am doing in that moment. Instead of thinking about my plans for the future or hanging onto the past, I think simple thoughts. I think my legs are moving to the beat of the music, I think my arms are contracting and relaxing while holding weights. When I connect with my body and move from that place of awareness, I feel the full effects of moving meditation and experience the full blown empowerment and strength that comes with working out.